Beyond Complementary Medicine

Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution
Michael H. Cohen
Explores the web of legal, ethical, and regulatory issues surrounding the integration of complementary and alternative medicine into clinical care


Consumers increasingly are turning to complementary medicine, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathy, massage therapy, dietary supplements and herbs, energy healing, meditation and yoga, and mind-body therapies. This book addresses the growing interest in the legal, ethical, and regulatory aspects of integrating such care into conventional clinical settings.

Integration of divergent philosophies, paradigms, and practices requires responsible investigation, informed judgment, and open-minded yet critical study and analysis of various systems of healing. Michael H. Cohen offers providers and policymakers vitally important information by addressing questions such as credentialing, malpractice, informed consent, and liability for referrals. He describes both practical strategies for minimizing liability, as well as the necessary future evolution of the legal and regulatory structure.

Cohen also probes uncharted ethical and bioethical issues in complementary medicine and integrative health care. He further explores the connection between law, medicine, and spirituality and the role of this connection in human evolution. The book's range mirrors the integrative process itself, a process of grappling with, and meaningfully assimilating, disparate traditions and unfamiliar ways of thinking about the significance of health, body, and being.

Beyond Complementary Medicine is required reading for anyone involved in health care, including executives, insurers, managed care organizations, attorneys, ethicists, and lawmakers; physicians integrating complementary and alternative therapies; complementary and alternative medicine practitioners; medical schools, law schools, and educational institutions offering programs in health care, public health, and complementary therapies; companies manufacturing herbs and dietary supplements; and most of all, patients and their families.

Michael H. Cohen is Director of Legal Programs at the Harvard Medical School Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies, and 40th Anniversary Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School.

Praise / Awards

  • "Michael H. Cohen clarifies credentialing, malpractice liability, and other legal, regulatory, ethical, and policy issues surrounding the inclusion of complementary medicine into conventional health care delivery. The book is an authoritative and indispensable resource."
    —James N. Dillard, M.D., D.C., C.Ac., Assistant Clinical Professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Medical Director for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Oxford Health Plans
  • "Beyond Complementary Medicine is a fascinating glimpse into the future of health and human healing at the crossroads of changes in law, ethics, regulation, and policy. The book's highly creative ideas are effervescent in expression, and bring a deeper, broader, and more refined discussion to the field. Michael Cohen as an original thinker whose writing will shape thinking in medicine and medical ethics for years to come."
    —Karen Adams, M.D., Assistant Professor and Certified Medical Ethicist, Oregon Health Sciences University
  • "Once again, Michael H. Cohen admirably pushes the frontiers of law, medicine, ethics, and health care policy. In an engaging, insightful, and provocative analysis, he opens a door to the future of medicine, thus laying the foundation for a regulatory framework that supports human physical, as well as spiritual, health."
    —Kenneth R. Pelletier, Ph.D., Director, Stanford Corporate Health Program, and Clinical Professor of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • "As complementary medicine becomes more and more popular, it is inevitable that some practices will be integrated into conventional health care. This process raises a host of legal and ethical issues. . . . Michael Cohen's attempt to address this complex area is both laudable and authoritative, rendering this text essential reading for all health care professionals with a serious interest in complementary medicine."
    —Professor Edzard Ernst, Department of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter
  • "Michael H. Cohen continues to push the boundaries of our thinking on the legal ramifications of holistic healing. In Beyond Complementary Medicine, he challenges us to open to the new world of Global Medicine."
    —Wayne B. Jonas, M.D., Associate Professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and Former Director, National Center for Complementary Medicine, National Institutes of Health
  • ". . . a thought-provoking discussion about integrating the alternative with the traditional. Through poignant anecdotes and accessible analysis, he moves from practical legal issues of liability and regulation to more abstract questions regarding different traditions and understandings about healing, all the while advocating a more holistic conception of health and medicine. Courts and regulatory agencies undoubtedly face a difficult task in reconciling the need to protect consumers from fraud and dangerous practices with contemporary norms of patient autonomy and the growing realization of the benefits of alternative medicine. Mr. Cohen's book offers a first step in that direction."
    Harvard Law Review, June 2001 (from typescript)

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 224pp.
  • 4 figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11135-0

Add to Cart
  • $79.95 U.S.